“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Friday, September 28, 2012

SLSA Liveblog 7: Ada Smailbegovic

“Molecular Poetics: Instabilities in the ‘Particle Zoo’,” SLSA (”Nonhuman”), Milwaukee, September 27–29, 2012

What does it mean to introduce the infinite life of molecules into poetry?
Does life inhere in all matter?
Christian Bok. Bok explores matter. A strip of steel interests us in itself.
Emphasis on microscopic matter. Steve McCaffery, “The proto-semantic level”
“the rumble beneath the word”
Four Horsemen sound poetry group
materiality of language
concrete poetry
Steve McCaffery, Carnival; 16 panels that you have to rip out of a book to assemble the poem
marks exceeding their semantic value
Opal from Bok’s Crystallography
both poets cite Lucretius. Lucretius thinks of atoms as like letters, how you combine them is significant
forests and fires each caused by the shuffling of these atomic letters
moving differently and in different combinations
Steve McCaffery, “Oceanside, a Lipogram”
Brownian motion. Brown starts assuming that the movement is because of life, but realizes it’s intrinsic to atoms
Lucretius bridges huge spans of scale
making observations at one level to surmise things about another scale; small >> great
“a small thing may act as a footprint of a concept”
micropoetics: language as textural and material
Bok, Ten Maps of Sardonic Wit: a book made of Lego bricks
exploring relation of atoms and words
anagrammatic disarray, atomization of language; pile of debris as zero degree of that
The Xenotext Experiment. Doesn’t address Fox Keller and Lewontin on gene-centricity.

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